The French

*cardinal numbers,* those used for counting, require you to use math skills once you get past 69. The number 70 is formed by adding 60 + 10, 71 is 60 + 11, and so on until 80 is reached. The number 80 is 4 × 20, while 81 is 4 × 20 + 1, and so on through the number 99.

Consult Table 1 for a list of French cardinal numbers that you should know.

Note the following about cardinal numbers:

**The conjunction ***et* (and) is used only for the numbers 21, 31, 41, 51, 61, and 71. In all other compound numbers through 99, *et* is dropped and a hyphen is used.

**Before a feminine noun, ***un* becomes *une*.

*vingt et un garçons*(21 boys)

*vingt et une filles* (21 girls)

**For ***quatre‐vingts* (80) and the plural of *cent* (100) for any number above 199, drop the *‐s* before another number, but not before a noun. The *‐s* is also dropped when these numbers are used in an ordinal sense (for example, to express page or address numbers and dates).

*quatre cent vingt dollars* (420 dollars)

*quatre cents dollars* (400 dollars)

*quatre‐vingt‐dix‐neuf euros* (99 euros)

*quatre‐vingts euros*(80 euros)

*à la page deux cent* (on page 200)

*dans la rue quatre‐vingt* (on 80th Street)

*pendant l'année neuf cent* (during the year 900)

*Un* is not used before *cent* (100) and *mille* (1,000).

*mille personnes* (1,000 people)

*Mille* doesn't take *‐s* in the plural.

*cinq mille dollars* (5,000 dollars)

*Mille* is generally written *mil* in dates until 1999:

*Je suis né en mil neuf cent quarante‐sept.* (I was born in 1947.)

**Starting with the year 2000, the date is written as follows:**

*Ma fille est née en (l'an) deux mille.* (My daughter was born in 2000.) When another number is added after 2000, *mil* is generally preferred to *mille.*

*Mon fils est né en (l'an) deux mil*( *le*) *deux.* (My son was born in 2002.)

**To express numbers between 1,000 and 9,999, you can avoid using ***mille* and simply use *cent* where it is more convenient.

*mille neuf cents*or *dix‐neuf cents* (1,900)

**In numerals and decimals, the French use commas where Americans use periods, and vice versa:**

**
****Numbers and nouns of quantity**

Nouns that are used to express a quantity or a measure are followed by *de* + noun. The cardinal numbers *million* and *milliard,* as well as other nouns of number, follow this rule.

*un million de touristes*(a million tourists)
*onze milliards de gens*(11 billion people)
*deux boîtes de céréales* (2 boxes of cereal)
*un tas de papiers* (a pile of papers)

Refer to Table 2 for common nouns of number and quantity.

**
****Ordinal numbers**

In French, most *ordinal numbers* (those used to show rank or placement) are formed by adding *‐i`me* to the cardinal number. When the cardinal number ends in a silent *e,* that vowel is dropped before adding the ordinal ending ( *quatri`me* is “fourth,” *onzi`me* is “eleventh,” and so on). Consult Table 3 for exceptions to the rule.

Note the following about ordinal numbers:

*Premier* and *premi`re* are abbreviated as follows:

**All others ordinals get a superscript ***e.*

**Ordinal numbers agree in number and gender with the nouns they describe.** *Premier (premi`re)*and *second (seconde)* are the only ordinal numbers that have a feminine form.

*le premier acte* (the first act)

*la premi`re pi`ce* (the first play)

*les premi`res années* (the first years)

*la Seconde Guerre mondiale* (the second World War)

*les vingt et uni`mes anniversaires* (21st birthdays)

*Premier* is used only for the first in a series. For 21 to 71, *uni`me* is added after the conjunction *et* to express first, and it must agree in number with the noun it modifies.

*la cinquante et uni`me année* (the 51st year)

*Second(e*) is generally used in a series that goes no higher than two.

**Use ***le* or *la* before *huit/huiti`me* and *onze/onzi`me.* There is no elision.

*le huiti`me anniversaire*(the 11th birthday)

*le onze juillet* (July 11th)

**In French, cardinal numbers precede ordinal numbers.**

*les deux premi`res personnes* (the first two people)